“He is devoted to the truth and righteousness. He is glorious and seeks the kind treatment and favor of the people. He is cognizant of time and place, and speaks dearly to the entire world.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 35.21)
satya dharma paraḥ śrīmān samgraha anugrahe rataḥ |
deśa kāla vibhāgajñaḥ sarva loka priyam vadaḥ ||
This verse from the Ramayana debunks the myth that God is an old and angry man. For starters, aging is a defect found in a material existence, a byproduct of accepting a body consisting of the elements of earth, water, fire, air and ether. The material nature is prakriti, and two of its features are misery and impermanence. These are effected through time, which knows what to do based on the results to work, the fruits of karma.
Shri Rama is Ishvara, or the Supreme Controller. He is different from jiva, or the living entity. Only jiva interacts with prakriti. Jiva is purusha and so is Ishvara, but jiva is also a kind of prakriti. It is a higher material nature, and in the present land the higher doesn’t realize that it is superior to the lower prakriti. Therefore unwanted things like old age, disease and death occur.
God is not vengeful because He has no reason to be. Wrath and anger are the result of frustrated desire. The jiva cannot always get what it wants since prakriti is there for other jivas as well. Each individual has their own story as it relates to karma, and so time has a different effect. One person’s karma intermingles with another person’s, and collisions and unwanted outcomes are the result.
In this verse Shri Hanuman says that Rama speaks dearly to the entire world. This should not be misunderstood to mean that Rama simply flatters everyone. One time He had an encounter with an ogre named Khara. This ogre and his friends had made a business of attacking innocent sages living in the forest of Dandaka. Those sages were in the brahmana occupation, which features nonviolence. The brahmana sees the spiritual equality shared by all living beings, and so they typically don’t have enemies. Everyone is a friend to them.
The ogres from Lanka took advantage of this kindness. They would attack the sages in the middle of the night, kill them, and then eat their flesh. It looked like they were getting away with these unspeakable acts. Then one day Rama arrived on the scene to defend. In a one-on-one encounter with Khara, Rama reminded the ogre that the fruits of bad karma arrive at the appropriate time. When they do, the results are ghastly.
“Just as a tree starts to blossom during the proper season, so the doer of sinful deeds inevitably reaps the horrible fruit of their actions at the appropriate time.” (Lord Rama speaking to Khara, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 29.8)
This is actually speaking dearly. Rama only speaks the truth, and He doesn’t hide the truth to fit the audience. These words were dear to Khara because the ogre needed to hear them. The words were recorded in the sacred Ramayana for future generations to hear also. They answer the question that baffles even the most intelligent minds. The answer to the question of “why do good things happen to bad people” is that time operates appropriately. Karma never gets forgotten. The higher authorities know everything.
Shri Rama is the highest authority. He accompanies the jiva wherever they go. He does this through the expansion of the Supersoul. Another word to describe this feature of God is antaryami, or the all-seeing witness. The Supersoul is impartial; He does not interfere with the free will of the jiva. The Supersoul always wants the best for the jiva, but in this feature God does not take the impetus to act.
When in the incarnation of Rama He speaks, and when He does the words are always dear. Sita Devi knew this, and she was pleased to hear that Hanuman knew it as well. Rama’s words to Hanuman about the mission ahead were also dear. He asked Hanuman to find Sita, His beloved wife who had gone missing in that very forest of Dandaka.
Those words were dear to Hanuman because they enabled him to do extraordinary things in the mission of devotion. They allowed him to meet Sita, who was a peer in the sense that she too had tremendous love for the prince of the Raghu dynasty.
Rama also speaks dearly in His original form of Shri Krishna, most notably on the battlefield of Kurukshetra to the distressed warrior Arjuna. Those sacred words are preserved in the Bhagavad-gita, the best book to enlighten the entire world, to rescue them from the darkness that has clouded the otherwise pure consciousness for too long.
Covered by darkness too long,
Enveloped in ignorance strong.
From that impediment to be clear,
Listen to words from God coming dear.
Even when to enemy Khara criticizing,
Benefit to him and others from chastising.
As impartial Supersoul not to speak,
But as Rama welfare for everyone to seek.